Donald Trump launched his 2024 White House bid on Tuesday with a speech filled with the kind of misrepresentations that typify his public statements, this time regarding his own presidency and that of his successor, Joe Biden.
The announcement came after his movement suffered embarrassing defeats in the 2022 midterms with nearly all of his endorsed candidates going down in defeat. They also come as he continues to tell blatant lies about the 2020 election.
Appearing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the twice-impeached ex-President currently being investigated for his role stoking the Jan. 6 capitol attack pitched the campaign as “America’s comeback.” Ironic words considering how badly the election deniers he endorsed did a week ago. He also said he’ll ‘make America great and glorious again,” while advancing false claims that his presidency produced “the greatest economic growth ever.”
He also said the current president, Joe Biden, has ‘failed’ the country and that he’s working with “radical left lunatics” to force “the decline of America.” This is in addition to advocating for cruel and unusual punishment, winking at racism, and outright being transphobic.
Trump also said kind words about China’s autocratic leader, Xi, lied, literally, about Democrats, and issued veiled threats of violence using language clearly intended to invoke the QAnon conspiracy theory. And we mean, clearly, stopping just shy of QAnon rhetoric that openly calls for the death of political enemies.
In other words, he gave a typical Trump speech.
Biden was apparently prepared for it in advance; soon after Trump’s speech ended, his official account tweeted “Donald Trump failed America,” along with a clip detailing just what those failures were.
The announcement comes despite efforts by some of his supporters behind the scenes to convince him to put it off for fear he’ll negatively affect Georgia Republican Herschel Walker’s chances against Democrat Raphael Warnock in the upcoming senate runoff.
They also come admit an uptick of turmoil in the Republican Party, as Trump loyalists bicker with other Republicans over whose fault the humiliating midterm setbacks was. Trump supporters in the Senate are attempting to oust Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell as Minority Leader, and block California Republican Kevin McCarthy from becoming Speaker should Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.
How this announcement will affect things moving forward remains to be seen. A sign that perhaps Trump doesn’t quite command the sort of attention he did during his chaotic presidency is that his audience seemed bored by the whole thing — and while Trump rambled on for nearly an hour, not only did CNN cut away from his speech after about 6 minutes, Fox News also bailed long before he was finished talking.
Trump would be the leading candidate for the Republican nomination right now, but high-profile rivals within the party include his former Vice President Mike Pence and Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was just reelected decisively.
Trump already has been taking shots at DeSantis, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a rally last Saturday.
On Jan. 6, 2020, Trump tweeted that Pence lacked the “courage” to turn the election to Trump, prompting rioters at the U.S. Capitol to carry a noose and chant “Hang Mike Pence,” while Pence was inside the Capitol working with congressional leaders to certify the election.
Both rivals have swiped back at Trump, especially Pence, who suggested Monday in interview with ABC that he might not support Trump.
“I think we’ll have better choices in the future. People in this country actually get along pretty well once you get out of politics,” Pence told ABC. “I think they want to see their national leader start to reflect that same – that same compassion and generosity of spirit.”
Trump also faces legal problems surrounding the seizure of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home, and a congressional subpoena for him to appear before the House Select Committee on Jan. 6.
Before Trump’s rally, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, told CNN that perhaps some of Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP “has begun to dissolve.”
“He still has some cult-like control over some in the Republican Party,” Raskin warned, noting that even when Trump insults someone like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, he still “has been able to reel these people back in.”
As a member of the Jan. 6 Select Committee, Raskin told CNN that Trump could face real legal problems over Jan. 6 and election tampering, and “running for office will not immunize you from prosecution.”